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Birgit Prietzsch
Institut für Marktanalyse


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Argentina discusses food waste

wasted fruits and vegetables at the wholesale market in Tucumán (© Felicitas Schneider)

In the course of its membership within the ‘Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists of G20 States’ the Thünen Institute took part in this year’s meeting in Argentina. The Institute presented its international cooperation related to food waste prevention and visited two Food Banks.

Since 2012, the Thünen Institute , together with the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), is represented in the ‘Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists of G20 States’ (MACS-G20). The leading agricultural economists of the G20 States meet once a year to identify relevant global agricultural topics and discuss common activities.

In 2015, during the MACS-G20 meeting in Izmir (Turkey), the delegates decided to collaborate in order to avoid food losses and waste. With that, research and policy advisory work capacities within the G20 states are concentrated so that perceptible reduction of food losses and waste can be achieved. Germany accepted overall control and employed Dr. Felicitas Schneider for arising activities in 2017.

During this year’s Argentinian G20 presidency, MACS-G20 took place from May 28th to 30th in Jujuy, capital of a northern province of Argentina. Two thematic focuses of the common discussion laid on ‘Sustainable soil management’ and ‘Genome Editing’. Moreover, Stefan Lange and Felicitas Schneider from Thünen Institute updated their international colleagues about the continuation of their organised MACS activities to prevent food losses and waste since 2015:

  1. In cooperation with TempAg , Thünen scientists share knowledge about research gaps in measurement and prevention of food losses and waste with colleagues from Sweden, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.
  2. Together with the Russian Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Thünen Institute started a project cooperation in May 2018 which will be first presented at this year’s Eurasian Food Security Conference in Moscow in October 2018.
  3. From October 2018, the Thünen-Institute of Market Analysis will support the Russian winner of the “German Chancellor Fellowship for Prospective Leaders ” of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with informed expertise, while her work against food losses and waste.
  4. In autumn 2018, the Thünen Institute plans a workshop regarding food waste together with the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA). The main focus is laid on Latin America and the Caribbean.
  5. Furthermore, Felicitas Schneider and Stefan Lange had first interviews related to similar workshops in Japan (2019) and Saudi Arabia (2020).

Within the context of a field trip around the spectacular countryside of northern Argentina, the researchers from Thünen Institute gained insights of the agricultural challenges. Poor rainfall in heights up to 4,000 m above sea level, soil with small content of organic matter, limited access to supra-regional markets and high share of manual work and family-owned farms challenge the locals the most.

After MACS-G20 2018, our employees met activists of two so-called Food Banks in Santiago del Estero and San Miguel de Tucumán. These charitable organisations collect surplus and edible food items and distribute them to those in need instead of throwing them away. The work of those committed employees of the Food Banks and the improvement of the living conditions, of mostly young people, made a huge impression. This experience can now be exchanged with international cooperation partners.

Dr. Sebastian Gálvez, Martín Belizan and Sandra Pertierra from Fundación Banco de Alimentos Santiago del Estero in contact with Felicitas Schneider and Stefan Lange (© Felicitas Schneider) Retailers from Santiago del Estero donate food with damaged packaging which is dedicated for final sorting at the Food Bank. (© Felicitas Schneider) The market hall at the wholesale market in Santiago del Estero. (© Felicitas Schneider) Volunteers sort and clean food donated by vendors from wholesale market in Tucumán. (© Felicitas Schneider) Corn cobs which are not suitable for retail in Santiago del Estero were donated. (© Felicitas Schneider) Social organisations pick up donated food from the Food Bank in Santiago del Estero and redistribute them to local people in need. (© Felicitas Schneider) Without the Food Bank in Santiago del Estero also the donated edible food would have been wasted. (© Felicitas Schneider) Thünen Institute staff Stefan Lange and Felicitas Schneider meet María Valeiro und Adrian Rios from Banco de Alimentos de Tucumán (© Felicitas Schneider) María Valeiro from Food Bank in Tucumán shows donated beverages originating from damaged pallets. (© Felicitas Schneider) Part of the daily donations from wholesale market in San Miguel de Tucumán ready for sorting. (© Felicitas Schneider) Red bell pepper for immediately use ready to be pick up. (© Felicitas Schneider) The volunteer of the Food Bank in San Miguel de Tucumán, Bernardo Adrian Nuñez, collects a donated pumpkin. (© Felicitas Schneider) Without the Food Bank in San Miguel de Tucumán also the donated edible food would have been wasted. (© Felicitas Schneider) The donated food is used for preparing nutritious meals e.g. by soup kitchens who support school children. (© Felicitas Schneider)


Stefan Lange, Thünen Institute research coordinator

Felicitas Schneider, Thünen Institute of Market Analysis